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Article: Dr Darts Newsletter - Patrick Chaplin - June Edition

Dr Darts Newsletter - Patrick Chaplin - June Edition

“Yes,” says Bob, “It’s true. I’m retiring from TV darts tournaments.”

In early May, World Champion Bob Anderson announced on
the Darts from the Past Facebook page that he was retiring
from TV tournaments but not exhibitions; his last appearance
beingthe World Senior Masters at the end of June. (For poster
and details check out this link

I contacted Bob to ask him about his TV appearances and
began asking him what was the first TV tournament he
appeared in.

He told me
“The 1981 Flowers Dartsathon, played at the Redwood
Lodge, Bristol. I made the last eight losing to Tony Brown. It was the first time I had seen
myself on TV.”
After more than four decades, Bob’s last TV appearance
was the World Seniors at the Circus Tavern, Purfleet
earlier this year. “An early exit against Andy Jenkins.”
Bob’s last success in front of the TV cameras was in
2008, the Betfred League of Legends in which he beat
Keith Deller 10 legs to 3 in the final. (See right. Image
© Betfred)

Looking back, Bob told me that his first exhibition was
played at RAF Fairford in 1980, “When I had just been
picked for England.”

Bob turned full time pro on 1st January 1985.
There was no point in asking Bob “What was your most
memorable TV appearance and why?” as, of course, I
already knew the answer. His World Championship win
in 1988. Other memories Bob? “Of course.”

“Playing for my country. In all I played 33 times for my country winning twenty-four.
Captaincy of England came in 1992, when we won the Home Internationals and Europe Cup.
But then the painful “split” came and ‘bang’ went my proudest moment in darts!”

Bob told me
“I am still in love with darts, but I can’t expect to play like I did thirty years ago. It’s a bitter
pill but I have to accept that I’ll be seventy-six in November!”

By retiring from TV, Bob is following in the footsteps of other greats, John Lowe, and
Dennis Priestley and, like them, Bob will continue to entertain darts fans in his fun

Bob said, “To book me at your pub or club, please email
We’ll have a fun afternoon or evening with your darting pals!”
I’m sure you will.


After 1959, the NODOR Fours competition went from strength to strength. In 1960 the
number of county’s entering the tournament doubled to sixteen and in 1961 it became what it
remained for many years, a national competition.

Organiser John Ross (pictured above)
promoting the 1959 NODOR
Challenge Cup Image © NODOR,
used with permission) confirmed that
the Fours was not originally
organised by the National Darts
Association of Great Britain
(NDAGB) but “by their officials
helping me out.”

Speaking to me in 1983 John said
“In 1961 we wanted it nationally.
Therefore, we did it through the
NDAGB. I took on personal
responsibility on behalf of the
NDAGB and the NODOR Company of handling that competition.”

Here are the rules as set out by the NODOR company for that
first national (‘national’ at that time meaning England and
Wales) NODOR Fours (the NODOR Challenge Cup)
tournament in 1961:

(a) This Competition is open to all Houses, Clubs, Works
and Business House Teams throughout ENGLAND &

(b) Each team will be allowed to register six players and
more than one team may be entered from any house or
Darts History #159 – June 2023

(c) The Competition will be run on a knockout basis and each COUNTY will be zoned
into areas. This will avoid travelling in the early rounds. THE WINNERS OF EACH
COUNTY CHAMPION TEAM. The County Champions will play off in the
respective AREA finals. AREA champions will play off on GRAND FINALS night
which will take place on a Saturday in London before Christmas 1961.

(d) The Competition is to be played throughout on the Nodor "Bristle” dartboard.

(e) Games will be FOUR A SIDE 801 up, straight start, finish on a double (Bull will
count double 25), best two legs of three. Teams shall toss for throw in the first leg, the
loser of the toss shall throw first in the second leg. Should a third leg be necessary, the
teams shall toss again to decide first throw. Local rules will apply during the
will be played under the rules of the NATIONAL DARTS ASSOCIATION OF
GREAT BRITAIN. [The photo above shows the 1961 final at Stratford Town Hall.
Image © NODOR International. Used with permission.]

(f) ENTRY FEE. All teams shall pay FIVE SHILLINGS entry fee. This sum being a
DONATION to promote the game of darts through the COUNTY DARTS
ASSOCIATION and the whole amount without deduction will be handed to them.

(g) Any team not in attendance by 9 p.m. their opponents shall claim the match if
they so desire.

(h) The Competition will be under the supervision of the County Darts Associations
concerned and Mr. Johnny Ross, the organiser. Their decision on all matters shall be
final. All correspondence regarding games up to and including County Finals should
be sent to the secretary of your County Darts Association, after the County Finals
correspondence to be sent to the organiser, Mr. Johnny Ross,

(i) PRIZES – GRAND FINALS. Winners shall receive the “Nodor” Challenge Cup to
be held for one year, also each player (six) shall receive a prize. Runners up, each
player (six) shall receive a prize, semi-finalists shall receive consolation prizes.
AREA FINALS. Winners shall receive a trophy to be held for one year, also each
player (six) shall receive a prize. Runners-up, each player (six) shall receive a prize.
COUNTY FINALS. Winners shall receive a trophy to be held for one year, also each
player (six) shall receive a prize. Runners-up, each player (six) shall receive a prize.


That first national tournament involved 2,122 teams, the organisation of the event being
headed, as it had been from the start, by darts organiser and player, John Ross.

The winners of that inaugural national event were the Cotton Tree Inn, Manchester who beat
the Hope Inn, Gloucester in the final.

The Cotton Tree Inn team comprised George Barrow,
Ray Hatton, Jimmy Berry, Alec Dixon and Bill
Lennard (pictured below), the latter destined to
become the News of the World Individual Darts
Champion in 1976 beating the pre-tournament
favourite Wales’ Leighton Rees 2-0 in the Final.

The Cotton Tree Inn was clearly a formidable team,
becoming runners up in the 1965 contest, losing to the
Queen’s Head, Bishop Auckland in the final and then
returning to take the title for a second time in 1966,
beating the Pioneer Club, Newcastle. The team was
almost the same as those who were victorious in 1961 except George Barrow was replaced by
Johnny Moores. In all the Cotton
Tree Inn qualified for the final
no less than five times. In 1963
even the pub’s ‘B’ team
managed to qualify.

My good friend, Darts History
subscriber and former England
team member, Doug McCarthy,
and his team, the Travellers
Rest, Spennymoor, Co. Durham,
lifted the Fours title in 1975
beating the Eyres Monsell
Club,* Leicester in the final.

[The photo (above right) shows, left to right, John Ross (NODOR organiser, John ‘Bonner’
Thompson, Bobby Ludkin, Doug McCarthy, Mickey Cummins, Ernie Peckett and Peter
Hawkins. Image: Courtesy Doug McCarthy.]

(*Incidentally, top professional Jamie Caven, replied to Part One which brought back a
memory for him. He wrote
Great read Patrick! Nice to see George Russell with the trophy! Eyres Monsell WMC the
first team I ever played for age 13 in 1990!])

In 1979 the established format was abandoned as ‘outmoded’ and replaced by a best of seven
format featuring four singles (best of three, 501-up), two pairs (best of three, 601-up) and ‘a
decider’; one leg of four-a-side, 801-up.

The last team to win the title under the old rules was the Printers Arms, Rochdale
(comprising Mel Faith, Norman Coombes, Gerald Harling and Jim Lord) who beat The
Calendar team from Wellingborough, Northamptonshire.
The first to win under the new format was the Foaming Quart, Norton Green, Stoke-on-Trent
who beat the Puddlers Arms, Rhymney, Gwent. The winning Quart team comprised Roger
Machin, Ken Stringer, Ron Gregory, Alan Dawson and Geoff Langdon. The Puddlers Arms
were to make the Grand Finals again the following year but, again, came runners-up; this
time to the team from the Swan Inn, Bicester.

The Foaming Quart was later to become famous due to its association with Eric Bristow and
his then partner, top lady darter, Maureen Flowers.

For the record, the winners in that final NODOR Fours championship were the team from the
Swan Inn, Bicester, Oxfordshire (comprised of Joe Dodd (pictured), W. Hearne, R. Sampson,
G. Howells and D. Scurfield) who beat the team from the Puddlers Arms, Rhymney, Gwent
4-3 on 22nd November 1980 at the Diamond Theatre, Caerphilly, Glamorgan.

The Puddlers team was packed with Welsh
international talent (Wayne Aston, Glyn
Greenaway, David R. Jones, M. Hughes and D. D.
Jones) living up to their reputation by soon building
a 3-1 lead. However, the Swan pulled things back to
3-3 with everything depending on the final team
game. Darts World included a brief description of
what followed:

Ably led by 20-stone Oxfordshire county player Joe
Dodd (with scores of 100 and 140) The Swan found
themselves after eight visits to the oche with only
116 needed. Dodd calmly hit 20, 60 and double 18
– to the delight of his team-mates.

Played in Wales and with a Welsh team beaten in
the Final it is probable that the guest of honour,
Welsh champion and first-ever Embassy World

Champion (1978), Leighton Rees, may have had to force a smile when handing the trophy
over to the English winners.

(In 1981, team member Joe Dodd was called up to play for England and the following year
Joe (pictured above right) qualified for the News of the World Individual Championships
finals when on Monday 22nd March 1982, won the London and Home Counties Divisional
title. In the final Joe met Welshman Alan Evans (the Lancashire and Cheshire Divisional
Champion) in the first round and lost to the Welshman 2-0.) (Image © News of the World.
Used with permission.)

Unbeknown to darts fans at that time, this was to become the last Fours championship,
sponsored by NODOR, the decision being made by the company later in the year. The trophy
was returned to NODOR and put into storage.

Coincidentally, when contacting Vince Bluck, the Managing Director at NODOR, on another
matter, he told me that he had a trophy I might be interested in knowing about. Vince wrote.....

'The cup certainly goes back some time. When we [the Bluck family] took over NODOR in
1983, it was the NODOR Fours trophy. I believe that by that time, the tournament had either
ceased to exist, or NODOR were no longer the title sponsor. Either way, the trophy was
redundant and gathering dust…'

In the mid-late 1980’s, sales to the USA and Canada were really taking off, and we were
working really closely with the the
National Darts Federation of Canada
(NDFC) and, as part of this close
relationship, we gave the trophy to the
NDFC to be presented to the annual
winner of the Canadian Open [the cup
being engraved ‘Canadian Inter
Provincial Mens’s Team Championship].

It was used until the mid-late 1990’s
when the cost to insure the trophy
became prohibitive for the NDFC. They
therefore returned the trophy and
acquired a lower cost replacement.

We still have the trophy, but
unfortunately, the base has been lost at
some time in the past.

Thanks to everyone who was contributed in any way to the NODOR Fours story. If anyone
has any other memories of this tournament please email me at

In the May issue I featured a special report titled ‘Newly Discovered Darts Association fills
the gap.’

Not surprisingly, several of you realised very quickly that there was something wrong. For
example, subscriber Markio wrote

“Love it! But Eddie and Ethel Bristrow
at the Upsadaisy darts club… very late
April fool surely? ” and regular
feedback provider Bill Bell wrote “I
thought the Upsadaisy club was your
April fool...”

and, of course it was.

But I cannot let the article go
unexplained so here I go…

In response to the April issue of Darts History, Dr. Eddie Norman wrote:
“Patrick. I had a message yesterday from my friend Antonio who I forward Darts History to
in Ecuador who has loved reading your April Fools section in the past and enjoys the
magazine each month. I told him you had both been under the weather and he sends his
kindest regards to you both.

I was in Quito, Ecuador in November on my recent South America tour of Ecuador, Peru,
Chile, and Colombia, and he remarked then how he got fooled each time. He asked
yesterday, “No April Fool’s joke this year?” He is the fourth person recently to say how
much he appreciated your little annual joke. Alandro Bonney, from Tuvalu, another of my
contacts I met again on my recent South Pacific tour said how he was always fooled as well.”

Eddie’s email made me look back to when I used to publish April Fool stories in DH/DDN
and made me think that maybe other readers might be missing them too. So, for old times’
sake, for Antonio and Alandro and others I produced the ‘missing link’ article I published in
last month’s issue. I hope you all enjoyed it.



NOTE: Text © 2023 Patrick Chaplin or as shown. Images © Patrick Chaplin or as stated or
sourced. Neither text nor images can be reproduced without prior permission of the
copyright holder(s).

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